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The Bella Bulletin JUNE 2018

ALEXANDRIA OCASIOCORTEZ wins primary for ny-14! Graduation 2018

Read more about her in our Trailblazer Tribute article on page 9.

Find out where our BALI Alumnae are off to next on page 4!


Table of Contents

This Month in Women’s History…….…….……3 BALI GRADUATES........………………………..……….4 2017 Leaders of the month……………….…….…6 Trailblazer Tribute.……………………….…...…...7

Featured Article of the Month……….......……..9 Featured Headlines of the Month………….…..11 Enrichment Programs ........................................13 BALI STAFF & Board of Directors……….……....15 BELLA BULLETIN STAFF …………………………......16

Women’s History of the month:



Congratulations to our 2018 Graduates! We are very proud of all of our alumnae graduating this year. You all have proven to be hardworking young women and we wish you the very best in your next stages. Here are our graduating students:

Serena graduated from Samantha graduated from Lisette graduated from Bronx Science and will Saint Vincent Academy and Princeton HS and will be be attending St. John’s! will be attending NYU Tisch! attending U of Virgina!

Camryn graduated from Syosset HS and will be attending Fordham!

Natalie graduated from Pierson and will be attending C of C!

Paola will be attending Baruch College!

Kristina graduated from Stuyvesant and will be attending U of Chicago!

Drefnie graduated from Sacred Heart and will be attending Northeastern!

Ying graduated from Rachel graduated from Serena graduated from High Technology HS and Livingston HS and will be RFK HS and will be will be attending attending Hunter College! attending Tufts! Carnegie Mellon!

Maya graduated from Leigh HS and will be attending Brandeis!

Desiree graduated from Brooklyn Latin and will be attending Smith!


CLASS OF 2017: Leaders of the Month I commit to standing by my beliefs and applying them to my everyday life. -- Martina Amate Perez 11 Grade at Aquinas High School

“My favorite experience was sharing and learning about problems in the world and participating in programs that offer solutions.� Hana Ho 10th Grade at Bayside High School

I commit to making a difference by not letting women stand for and accept an unacceptable way of being treated by their male counterparts and make their voice heard, not disregarded. -- Krista P 8th Grade at The Baccalaureate School of Global Education 6

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Beats 14 Year Incumbent in Congressional Race Original article from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/nyregion/jose ph-crowley-ocasio-cortez-democratic-primary.html, by Shane Goldmacher and Jonathan Martin On Tuesday June 26th, in New York’s 14th Congressional District, 28-year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the political world by storm, beating out incumbent Joseph Crowley. Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx-born, self-identified Democratic Socialist with a working-class background, stunned many in her defeat of Crowley, who hadn’t had even a primary challenger, since 2004. Crowley was being considered to take Nancy Pelosi’s seat as Democratic Leader of the House, and was the number four Democrat in the House. Ocasio’s campaign was run heavily on the notion of her upbringing and similarity to her constituents, and she often made a point of noting how much money Crowley had raised from the “political machine,” where her campaign funds were raised by her supporters.

Ocasio-Cortez’s viral campaign video, which not only displayed her ability to use social media to her advantage (the video has been viewed over half a million times) but also what truly set her apart as a candidate. “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for Congress;” and as statistics have shown, she’s right. If elected, she would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and only the second Latina to represent New York in Congress.

As far as Ocasio-Cortez’s political views go, as a Democratic Socialist, they were considerably more left leaning than her former competitionshe called for the abolishment of ice, single payer healthcare, ending the privatization of prisons, and has spoken out in support of Palestine during the 2018 Gaza border protests. OcasioCortez’s win is a strong reminder that the youth, women, Latinx folks and other people of color, are a strong political force, and will not be silenced by wealthier, more established political machines. She will face Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in November, and is likely to win the heavily Democratic district. 7

Beata Mariana de Jesus MejiaMejia Sues U.S. Government Original article from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/l ocal/wp/2018/06/19/her-7-year-old-wastaken-at-the-border-as-she-soughtasylum-now-shes-suing-to-get-himback/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.99c4d7a 90bef by Eli Rosenberg The separation of undocumented immigrant families at the US-Mexico border, including newborn children from their parents, has received almost

nonstop media coverage over the past few weeks. Trump’s “zero-tolerance policy,” which was the catalyst for the some 2000+ children’s separations from their families since May. The children, who are being placed in temporary facilities, including some “tender age” shelters for children under 5. Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, a 38 year old Guatemalan woman who sought asylum from domestic violence, was one of thousands of parents whose children were forcibly taken from them. Only, Mejia-Mejia is fighting back; she sought representation and is suing the U.S. government for taking her son, who she, at the time had only been able to speak to

once by phone. After being released from custody on June 15th, she still had not received any word about where her son was. The lawsuit, which states that “every day the boy is separated from his mother, he suffers emotional and psychological harm,” represents one case out of the existing thousands of families who are experiencing this serious humanitarian crisis firsthand. Beata’s case which simply seeks to be reunite her with her son, “follows one on behalf of a Congolese woman who was separated from her 7-year-old daughter for four months. That lawsuit seeks to halt the practice of separations.” As a result of her brave and powerful decision, Mejia-Mejia was reunited with her son on June 22nd. However, family separations are still a gross injustice being practiced by the government, and despite Trump’s executive orders and various marches that took place over the weekend, there is still an incredible amount of work to be done to support immigrant families, both separated and together.


Featured Article of the Month Let’s bury the word diversity and listen to communities of color before crisis hits By Rachel Noerdlinger, contributor to USA Today

A friend and colleague of mine in the communications industry once told me she wanted to write the obituary for the word “diversity” because it had become such a cliché — and a scapegoat for senior leaders at companies that felt they simply needed to check a box to solve their lack of inclusivity. I couldn’t agree more: The time to bury the word is overdue. Diversity has become a buzzword, and corporations and colleges frequently use it when discussing hiring practices and admissions goals. And while it is laudable to want to foster an environment where all races, genders and ethnicities are represented, the word is often misused by managers without real work being put into changing the systemic behavior that was a catalyst for the lack of diversity in the first place.

In short, quotas don’t work. Whether the label is affirmative action or diversity, too many organizations are checking off a box without laying the real groundwork to make substantive cultural changes. We must create a dialogue where communities of color are heard, not just represented in the ranks. But its system of arrest quotas disproportionately hurts communities of color. Too often officers, regardless of race, were making arrests and traffic stops to meet benchmarks. Black men, who were routinely stopped and frisked, were targets, and their distrust of police officers grew even while the brass continued to hold recruiting events in churches and schools in communities of color. The NYPD might have been diverse, but its relationship with communities of color was weakened by stop-and-frisk policies.

This disconnect happens in organizations across 9 the country. Take a walk into any college campus

that boasts diversity, and you will find white students sitting at one table in the cafeteria while black or Hispanic students sit at another. Despite the school’s best efforts, students selfsegregate, and diversity on paper doesn’t automatically translate into a deeper understanding of cultures. More is needed. Indeed, an organization's physical makeup matters, but diversity means making tangible changes to its culture by truly understanding communities of color. It’s not just putting diverse people in power — it’s having people in power going into different communities to ask questions about concerns and priorities, and listen to the answers. As a crisis communication specialist, corporations often come to me after offending communities of color. At that point, however, what the leaders say matters less than what they do. I often urge them to go to neighborhoods where people are angry and listen carefully. I urge them to start mentorships with students in these communities so they aren’t just hiring someone to check off a box, they are creating the foundation for better understanding of these communities as well as growing talent.

Don’t go to black churches to clap and sing, I tell executives and politicians, go to listen and talk.

Ask people at block parties about their families and jobs, not about their voting preference and buying patterns. My only wish is that they would come to me sooner. Instead, corporations race to hire chief diversity officers and create external diversity advisory boards without listening to the communities they are trying to reach. Again, quotas become the norm and miscommunication reigns. Let’s stop with the buzzwords and listen to communities of color before problems surface. Not only will this create a stronger workforce, we may reduce the number of racial crises in this country. Critical Questions: 1) What communities or institutions do you know of that should reconsider their approaches to “diversity”? 2) If you were in charge of a company, how would you promote inclusion and understanding in a way that is effective? 3) How should the way we publicize “diversity” change?


Headlines of the Month Trump Administration Now Criminally Prosecutes Illegal Immigrants – Lead to Seperating Families

This month, the Trump administration has gone back-and-forth on a controversial policy that encourages stricter border security, and results in the separation of immigrant families. This past May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the White House would be enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy that would criminally prosecute all those that crossed the southern border illegally. The aspect of the policy that particularly fell under scrutiny was that the children of those prosecuted would be separated from their parents and placed in separate facilities. The policy resulted in over 2,000 children being separated from their families by mid-June. In response to the nation-wide backlash, President Trump signed an executive order on June 20, declaring that immigrant families would be detained together instead. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reunited about 500 families since the executive order. However, there are still around 2,300 children that have already been transferred out of CBP’s custody to other facilities. The executive order does not address how these children will be returned to their families, nor does it address

how or when detention facilities equipped to hold entire families will be constructed.

London Breed, first African American Woman to be elected Mayor of San Francisco On June 5, London Breed was the first AfricanAmerican woman to be elected mayor in San Francisco. Breed won the election against fellow Democrat and former California state Senator Mark Leno. The elections were a result of the death of Mayor Ed Lee this December. In fact, Breed spent a short period of time as interim mayor after Lee’s death, but the Board of Supervisors made the surprising decision to replace her with Mark Farrell. The board claimed that their intentions were to remove the advantage that Breed had being the acting mayor and running for mayor in the June elections, but the decision sparked political uproar in the community due to the fact that the government of San Francisco replaced London Breed, an African-American woman, with Farrell, a white man representing the affluent areas of San Francisco. Nevertheless, Breed succeeded in the elections with a platform focused on providing housing for those struggling with drug addiction, homelessness, and mental illness.


Antwon Rose, Unarmed, is Killed by East Pittsburg Police Office

the results of the investigation have yet to be determined.

Mass Shooting at NJ’s Art All Night

On June 19, Antwon Rose, a 17 year-old black teenager, was shot and killed by East Pittsburg police officer Michael Rosfeld. Rose and two others were stopped by the officer because they were driving a vehicle that matched the description of one used in a driveby minutes before. During the stop, Rose stepped out of the car and began to run away, but Rosfeld fatally wounded Rose by shooting at him three times. Two handguns were later found in the car and Rose had an empty 9-millimeter handgun clip in his pocket, but he was unarmed and did not make any violent advances towards Rosfeld when he was shot. Although rumors have spread about video evidence of Rose firing a gun in the driveby and that there was gunshot residue on the teenager’s hands, the Allegheny County Police Department has denied these claims and are currently reviewing both the video of the driveby and the video of Rose’s death for investigation. The incident led to a massive uproar in the Pittsburg community, and protests ensued for the rest of the week of Rose’s death. This is due to the fact that Antwon Rose is now one of the countless young black men and women to be unjustly killed by police officers. According to Al Jazeera, almost a quarter of individuals killed by the police in 2016 were black, despite the fact that black individuals only make up about 12% of the country’s population. Rose’s funeral was held on Monday, June 25, and

Trenton, New Jersey’s popular, annual event called Art All Night was tragically interrupted by a mass shooting on Sunday, June 17. The shooting was the result of a fist-fight between gang members, and injured 22 people. There are two named gunmen and one suspect in the shooting, one of which was shot and killed by a police officer. According to the people of Trenton, the 24-hour music festival has always been a source of unity and hope within the struggling city. Many have even credited the festival with having a central role in changing the city’s economy for the better, making the shooting even more devastating to the community. Just days before the shooting, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed six new gun control laws which, according to the governor, will make New Jersey a leader in the fight for stricter gun control.


Looking for Enrichment Opportunities? Black Girls Code offers programming and events in coding for African American girls. Brotherhood/Sister Sol offers afterschool and summer programming in relationshipbuilding, self/global awareness, social justice, leadership development, and more. Some of their programs are gender-specific. ChickTech offers programming and mentorship in STEM for high school girls. Curious Jane offers classes and summer programming in science, theatre, arts and crafts, and more for girls. Digital Girl, Inc. works at high schools to provide programming in STEM and offers tech workshops for the community. Girl Be Heard works in high schools to teach girls about gender, race, and class through theatre, and offers workshops and performances. Girl Vow offers education, mentorship, advocacy, and life skills training for girls. Girls for Gender Equity offers programming in community advocacy, leadership, and social justice for girls. Girls Inc. offers programming in statistical analysis, economic literacy, leadership and community action, STEM, media literacy, athletics, sexual health education, substance abuse prevention, self-defense, and more for girls ages 6-18. Girls Leadership offers Parent & Daughter workshops, parent education, and summer day camps for girls entering grades 4 and 5. Girls on the Run offers a physical activity based youth development program for girls in grades 3-8. Girls Who Code offers afterschool and summer programming in coding for middle and high school girls. Girls Write Now offers mentoring programs in writing, digital media, and college preparation for girls. 13

Click on programs names For More Info! GOALS for Girls offers year-round programming, a summer intensive, weekend forums, and internships in STEM for middle and high school girls. LOVE Mentoring works at high schools to deliver small-group mentoring for young Latinas. Life is Precious offers individual and group counseling, arts therapy, academic support, and nutritional and fitness activities to prevent suicide among young Latinas. Lower Eastside Girls Club provides programming in STEM, business, art, leadership, and advocacy, as well as mentoring for girls in grades 6-12. NYC GREAT! offers programming and mentoring in college and career readiness for high school girls. NYU GSTEM is a six-week summer program for high school girls during the summer between their junior and senior years who have high aptitude in STEM subjects. Powerplay NYC works in elementary, middle, and high schools to offer afterschool programming in physical activity and healthy living. Sadie Nash Leadership Project provides afterschool and summer programming in leadership and social justice for girls ages 14-22. Soul Sisters Leadership Collective works in schools to offer workshops to explore issues faced by young women of color. Vibe Theatre Experience offers theatre and media programming for girls ages 13-19. Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls offers afterschool and summer music programing for girls. YWCA provides programming in leadership and advocacy, STEAM, career and college exploration, and more for girls.


BALI Staff

Liz Abzug

Oriela Baliaj

Gabriela Valette

Founder & Executive Director

Senior Program Associate

Program Coordinator

BALI Board of Directors Liz J. Abzug, Founder/Executive Director Erica Forman, Board-Chair Meg Holzer, Secretary Cynthia McKnight, Treasurer Erica Forman, Chair Eija Ayravainen Gloria Steinem Joanne Davila Maya Catherine Popa Maya C. Popa

Claire Reed Harold Holzer Jonathan Greenberg Judy Lerner Liz Cooper

Betsy Scheinbart-Norton Jerry Goldfeder A.J. Lederman Kylie Reiffert Kai Gilchrist 15

The Bella Bulletin Staff Gisselle Rodriguez Benitez Editor-in-Chief School: Northeastern University Major: Economics BALI Class of: 2016 Email: gisselle@abzuginstitute.org

Wilma Abam-Depass Section Editor School: Croton High School Grade: 11th BALI Class of: 2017

Zoe Donovan Section Editor School: Bard Early College Grade: 11th BALI Class of: 2017

Adriana Rodriguez Section Editor School: Brown University Major: Political Science BALI Class of: 2016

for inquiries and suggestions, email gisselle@abzuginstitute.org




Profile for Bella Abzug Leadership Institute

Bella Bulletin | June 2018 Edition  

Bella Bulletin | June 2018 Edition